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by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 When today's deal was played in a team match both North-South pairs did well to reach 6


 The key bid was North's jump to 5, which suggested genuine trump support, no ace or void, but something of value on the side (here the singleton spade). After the same opening lead at both tables only one declarer made his slam. The unsuccessful declarer thought he played the hand reasonably and was unlucky to fail. Perhaps he was right...


 Before offering an opinion on the subject,  plan the play on a low club lead, without East and West hands.

North-South vulnerable

South deals


Q 10 8 5 4
10 8 6 4
K 8 3
  K J 8 7 2

A K J 7 5 2


West North East South
Pass 1 Doblo 2
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 5 Pass 6
Pass Pass Pass  


 Opening Lead: 4


 Our unlucky declarer won the club lead with the A, drew trumps and overtook Q with dummy's K to lead the 6.


 When East predictably played low, it was incumbent on declarer to guess whether to play the J or the K.


 Given that East had come into a "live" auction with a takeout double, it seemed more than reasonable to place him with the A rather than the Q. Declarer duly rose with the king and could no longer make the contract because there were only two trumps in dummy and he needed three spade ruffs.

 Did you play the hand the same way?


 At the other table, declarer won the K at trick one, playing his queen beneath it, and called for the 6.


 He too misguessed spades by playing the K.


 West won the A and played a trump to the Q and K but declarer's decision to delay drawing trumps left him in a strong position.


 He ruffed a spade, came to the A, ruffed a spade, ruffed a heart, and ruffed another spade with the 10, bringing down East's Q.


 He ruffed himself in with a heart, drew West's remaining trump, and claimed; the long spade had been established without much fuss.

 If you were looking for a New Year's Resolution relating bridge, you might try this one: "I resolve never to complain about my bad luck."


 It is true that you will indeed suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune once in a while but by remaining silent in the face of genuine adversity you will earn the respect of your peers by avoiding "false claims" like the one made by our unlucky South.


 The four hands were:


Q 10 8 5 4
10 8 6 4
K 8 3
A 5 3
9 7 6 3
9 3
10 7 6 4
Q 10 9 4
A K J 2
J 9 5 2
  K J 8 7 2

A K J 7 5 2